Community groups have funding slashed

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The Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB) has revealed 35 organisations in the capital face losing their funding

12th December 2018 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

A host of third sector organisations in Edinburgh face a Christmas funding crisis.

And a total of 35 organisations are set to lose out on their funding after grants totalling £1.9 million a year have not been recommended for renewal.

The Edinburgh Integration Joint Board (EIJB), made up of health board and council representatives, said the move follows a review into health and social care grants.

Pilton Community Health Project (PHCP) is one of the organisations affected and said that it faces a fight for survival.

The EIJB is set to meet on Friday to make a decision over the recommendations, and a report prepared for the meeting recognises that some of the organisations may face closure.

“Thirty five organisations which are currently funded will no longer be funded,” the report said. “Some of these organisations will continue to operate, however, it may lead to the closure of some of the organisations and subsequent loss of jobs and volunteering opportunities. A significant number of service users may be adversely affected by these decisions.”

The report highlights the positives and negatives of making the funding decisions.

Councillor Ricky Henderson, chair of the EIJB, said: “This is a new process for allocating grants which I strongly believe meets our strategic objectives for providing health and social care services across Edinburgh.

“Following the EIJB decision in November 2017 to review the grant programmes for those inherited from the council and NHS Lothian, a steering group was formed and a grants programme was coproduced with the voluntary sector and subsequently agreed by the EIJB in August 2018.

“The steering group completed a robust and well thought out application and assessment process. Training and advice surgeries were held for applicants throughout and following the closing date an independent chair was appointed to moderate the allocation programme – ensuring objective and impartial decisions.

“The EIJB will consider the recommendations of sharing £14.2 million from the grants review steering group at our next meeting on 14 December.”

The report states organisations “have known for a number of years that a review will be carried out and, have been encouraged over recent years, to become more financially sustainable and seek additional sources of funding.”

Anna Fowlie, chief executive for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said savings should not be made at the expense of vulnerable people.

She said: “While I understand finances are very tight for councils and health boards at the moment, it is makes me sad and angry to see such short-term thinking in action in Edinburgh.

"Third sector organisations are delivering effective support to the most disadvantaged people in our communities, and in doing so are saving the public purse a substantial amount of money in terms of prevention, early intervention and direct service delivery.

"Of course, savings need to be made but not at the expense of vulnerable people and not in a way which simply results in the need for much more expensive interventions further down the line.”

The groups affected cover a range of areas, with 10 projects that work with older people and 13 that focus on reducing health inequalities set to lose out. Other types of groups hit include those that support carers (six) and disability organisations (two).

Organisations that have been successful in gaining funding from the £14.2 million pot include Autism Initiatives (£258,878 over the next three years), Drake Music Scotland (£54,000) and Waverley Care (£575,259).

The EIJB said it received 152 applications, requesting £31 million funding over three years, when only £14.2 million was available. The board has pledged to work with groups who have been unsuccessful to help them secure alternative funding.

Ella Simpson, chief executive of the Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations' Council (EVOC), said support would provided to those organisations that had missed out.

She said: "We will be running training courses to support organisations, whether they find themselves needing to make funding applications to ensure the sustainability of their organisations, need advice and support to close services or review all their options. We have allocated some funds to be able to provide one-to-one support with consultants on relevant issues such as strategic planning, change management and succession planning. These will be free to any organisation impacted by the grants decisions.

"In terms of the broader impact on communities, the IJB and the associated work programmes are very aware of the need to take account of the impact of the grants decisions."

PHCP is planning a protest at Edinburgh City Chambers from 8.45am on Friday (14 December) to coincide with the meeting.

lf you are one of the groups affected by the funding review, contact Third Force News at [email protected] or ring 0131 524 7285.

14th December 2018 by Christina

I work for CAN one of these organisations, that deal with benefits like PIP and ESA, debts and financial advice yet funding has stopped. I voulunteer but staff are going to lose jobs that are helping the vulnerable and disadvantaged yet we have those who are being referred to is by GP's and MSP but we are not classed as a worthwhile organisation to get funding. If people don't get benefits sorted that will impact on there lives and we have been cut by the funding that is allocated. We hit our criteria we were in budget. If this is lost, the community will have find another organisation. But none exist in this area how does that work?